The Manchester Monarchs finished last season as the second best team in the American Hockey League’s Atlantic Division to a 48-19-3 record, and, earning an Eastern Conference best 105 points. The 2014 AHL Calder Cup playoffs were a slight disappointment after a successful season with a 3-1 first round series defeat to the hands of the Norfolk Admirals, who proved to be the better team.
This season is almost a mirrored image to the start of last season with the Monarchs off to an impressive 19-6-1 start through 27 games, and are once again at the top of the Conference with 40 points. The team has so many players to thank for their recent success, weather it’s the efforts of league leading point getting forward Brian O’Neill (8-26-34), or league leading goal scorer forward Nick Shore (14-16-30), it’s no question that the Monarchs are ready for another great season of developmental hockey.
Goaltending has always been one of the strong positions in Monarchs history, and with starting goaltender Jean-Francois Berube has played very well to prove to the Los Angeles Kings that he is the next NHL ready netminder in the organization. While Berube is on pace to have a career year in the AHL, there is always a goaltender that is cycled through the team to be the next one to take over due to advancement to the NHL club, and the next future starter’s name is Patrik Bartosak.
Bartosak, a native of Novy Jicin, Czech Republic was selected in the fifth round (146th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Kings out of the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels. In three seasons with the Rebels (145 games) he had a 80-50 record, a 2.60 goals against average and .924 save percentage. On March 5, 2014 the Kings signed him to a three-year entry-level contract, and he reported to the AHL Monarchs for the remainder of the season. Last year he appeared in only four games going 3-1 with a 1.75 goals against, and .941 save percentage.
This season as a full-time back up he has played very well in his rookie season for the Monarchs. While in relief of starting goaltender Berube, he has played in seven games, posting a 5-2-0 record. a 2.71 goals against and .900 save percentage. The 6’-1” 193 pounder was one of the best goaltenders of the WHL with unorthodox style in the crease, which he uses his big size effectively. He is a goaltender with very quick reflexes, and has amazing vision while directing rebounds away from traffic.
Bartosak is another goaltender in the Kings organization that will thrive in his development if he gets the chance to start in more games. He was a player that worked very hard during the past off-season with goals to impress the Kings brass, and did exactly that. With a good showing at the rookie camp and Kings training camp the team elected not to send him to the Ontario Reign of the East Coast Hockey League, but to make the jump to the AHL with the Monarchs.
Current Kings backup goaltender Martin Jones is on the last season of his contract, and if an agreement is not reached, it’s most certain that Berube will get the call to fill the empty backup roll with the NHL club, and creating a starting position for Bartosak to fill with increased playing time.
No matter what the scenario’s are, the Kings are very well prepared in the crease for many years to come, which I will say again proves that the organization has the best scouting staff in the league.